Artist Disillusionment: Spoony's commentary reveals that the desire to retire the Nostalgia Critic and move on to new shows with more original content was in part motivated on the TGWTG crew's trip to Washington DC to lobby against various internet censorship bills. The team became convinced that nobody really cared what they had to say and that some sort of internet censorship bill was inevitable prompting several producers to reassess the work they were basing their livelihoods around. Rob described the meeting as "talking to a brick wall." Ouch.
Creator Backlash: In their DVD commentary, Doug said that he wrote/improvised most of the emotional Critic scenes, confirmed that Suburban Knights was the kickstarting point for the Character Development, and was overjoyed that Critic got his happy ending. Rob had been pleased with it too, but later at "Con Alt Delete" Rob retconned the writing process a bit, saying that hardest part of his job was to write the movie because "the worst part is giving [the Critic] humanity. Like, now we have to make him likable? Good luck."
Although they've never come out and stated that they dislike To Boldly Flee, Phelous, Obscurus Lupa and Brad Jones do spend a good majority of their commentary on the film making fun of it. The film's supposed awfulness has even become a Running Gag on Phelous' show.
Creator Breakdown: Doug lost it again. To put it simply: you know those many many shots where it looked like Critic had been crying? That wasn't just good acting, Doug had got it into his head that he was putting everyone through the twelve levels of hell.
Rob let his anger over the Washington SOPA trip seep into the SUCKA storyline, and the Snob-calling-out-Clodd scene had direct lines taken from the officials they spoke to.
Female fans have been asking for a Critic/Chick crossover with Doug dressed as Tim Curry ever since Ferngully. Part 1 gives them a winking smile, even though it'll remain to be seen if the review comes to pass.
The most popular argument against "character = actor" was that Critic would have died long ago if he'd had to manage in the real world. And while still serving as the final nail in the coffin for "character = actor", Part 8 provides a counterpoint: instead of being the main feature in a Crapsack World, reality would let him become just another face in the crowd. This option is tempting for him, but he ultimately decides to stay and make things right.
Flip Flop of God: Doug reassured people in the "is Critic over?" video that the character wasn't completely gone, just retired/ascended and only coming back for rare occasions, but outright calls him dead in the next week's "The Top Eleven Best NC Episodes". This later turned out to be Exact Words; Demo Reel was his purgatory while retaining his actual identity in the Hole. Even so, Critic could descend for other jobs.
Everyone involved said that Ma-Ti would not be addressed, nor would Bhargav appear as Ma-Ti, as he left the site in early 2012. In fact, Ma-Ti, his death, and the existence of his mind within Spoony's are all central plot points, even including footage of Bhargav that, while recorded during Suburban Knights, was never aired before. Ma-ti's voice was done by Rob Walker otherwise.
Magnum Opus: Despite only managing to go 44 seconds of commentary before bashing himself, it's pretty obviously Doug's. He wanted the best send-off possible for the Critic, had the creator/character scene in his head ever since he was a teenager, and the less said about his Creator Breakdown the better.
Shown to be a mystical ability in the Awesomeverse, where a "character" transfers from one actor to another in the hopes of being brought back. In this case, Ma-Ti did this to Spoony. Several examples of this are given including the Trope Namer.
More directly, Bhargav doesn't return to do Ma-Ti's voice. It's done by Rob, doing his best impression of him.
At the end of Part 8, Spoony appears, suffering an extreme case of amnesia due to his ordeal. In reality, he and Channel Awesome had a falling out and he was fired/left after this special was filmed. His "amnesia" is (probably unintentionally as the script was written before that incident) a convenient plot device to explain his now real-world absence.
Lupa and Todd wonder what possible kind of alternate universe would allow the Nostalgia Chick to get together with Todd.
At the end, as Todd says that this could be the start of something beautiful, Lupa is making eyes at Phelous behind her.
Part 8 has Doug telling the Critic that he evolved as a character so much that he has no idea what else he can do with him, and is also the only one around to see his Heroic Sacrifice. It turns out this film was made specifically for the Critic to be retired.
The SUCKA Act deal and the whole thing with the critics' jobs being in jeopardy is something Channel Awesome was (and still is) actively trying to control. The online reviewer community is just as much in trouble as it is in real life.
After the shoot was done, Doug posted that a great way to lose weight was to run around filming, acting and directing for nine days. As he's pretty skinny in the first place, it shows up onscreen, making the Critic look as worn out and vulnerable as he's feeling.
And while Critic spends most of the movie depressed and wanting to atone for his mistakes, Doug was beating himself up over assuming he was putting the others through work that was too hard for them. He even had to reshoot a few scenes because it was him getting upset and not the Critic.
The scene where Clodd tempts Snob, calling out the critics for having a noose around their necks and wanting him to continue to "real" film-making, was Doug and Rob's real feelings on Critic (even in very early cons, Doug openly said he wanted to chop Critic's head off) and wanting to do original work.
Schedule Slip: The day after the first episode aired, Rob Walker announced that instead of an episode every day, the schedule had been amended to one every three days, citing "catastrophic technical difficulties" in exporting the videos. This incidentally made a few jokes referring to the day the episode came out ("all in all, a successful Tuesday") fall flat.
The Producer Thinks of Everything: On the last day of the location shoot for Suburban Knights, Doug already knew the anniversary special after this would be a sci-fi parody, and that it would be like The Search For Spock. Noah had suggested that if Ma-Ti was going to perform the katra on somebody, it would have to be a reviewer they all knew would appear in To Boldly Flee, so they shot the scene where Ma-Ti transfers his character into Spoony that Spring 2011 for a movie that would be online 16 months later! Given that Noah himself left the site soon after shooting, the choice could have gone very badly though.
According to Linkara, one of his lines as Mechakara from episode 6 - as well as the snarl - were adlibs.
Mechakara: You stupid, disgusting meatbags!
The "Rent Due" post it was added because Lewis realized that he needed a reason for why Linkara wouldn't just use the peephole to see who it was.
JesuOtaku and Paw often found themselves standing next to each other in crowd scenes, which led to the Running Gag of JO always picking him to test her inventions on.
Most of Ed!JO's lines were embellished by Hope herself, as she was more familiar with Cowboy Bebop characters than Doug and Rob were when they wrote her lines.
According to his commentary, Noah ad-libbed various things (Such as the line quoted below) at the end of Dr Insano's scripted lines. Most of the ad-libs were used, but in a case of What Could Have Been, one of Spoony's favourite ad-libs wasn't used & was a crack about the Mass Effect 3 ending not making any sense.
Dr. Insano: They even took the novelty slot machine! WHO DOES THAT?!
Doug & Rob's direction for Noah's performance as Turrell was to ham it up as much as possible. Having watched Battlefield Earth to prepare for the role, Noah had noted that John Travolta's Terl had two settings - Large Ham & (as Noah describes it) "speaking through clenched teeth" - and learnt the second voice so that he could provide alternate takes in the second voice.
In nearly every scene where he's in the background, Phelous is frozen and looking directly at the camera with a silly face (part 8), pretending to be asleep (part 4), or pressing buttons in an overly sarcastic manner (also part 4). This was revealed during his commentary and few people noticed.
In part 3, Cinema Snob is talking to Luke Mochrie about his proposed film while Paw records him for his vlog. Brad Jones (Snob) thought he was off-camera so he stopped talking to Luke and simply stood around while Paw spoke to Mechakara. He then looks at the camera, realizes he is still in the scene, and continues to act. Doug Walker actually knew about this but they kept the take anyway.
Doug admits on his commentary that he improvised quite a bit of the Critic/Film Brain goodbye scene - lengthening it to make it harsher on both characters - making it the second time he's done this for a self-loathing rant.
The Angry Video Game Nerd was supposed to have a larger role than just being Gort. He had appeared as early as Part I, supporting the Critic in Turrell's government speech mirroring Sarek's role at the beginning of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (complete with the "Nerds are the intellectual puppets of critics" line), and then he was the one to give Critic the "Nerd meld" instead of the Last Angry Geek.
Holly's and Barney Walker's roles were originally switched.
The movie was originally intended to be a straight comedy, but then everyone pretty much as a whole played their lines straight. With the realization that they could actually carry some very good drama, it was shifted into the dramedy that we know and cried over.
When Suburban Knights was still Pirates vs. Ninjas, Doug had the idea that Mechakara was going to replace Linkara in that movie, with his own plans to get the Power Glove, but Lewis argued that Mechakara is a serious character and would rip the others' throats at the first moment instead of cosplaying. It was rewritten with regular Linkara dressed as King Arthur instead. Mechakara still appears (faceless) at the stinger taking the discarded Glove as a segue into To Boldly Flee, and that idea of him going undercover was used for this film instead once Lewis warmed up to the idea.
An early draft used to have a new character spoofing the Bumbling Sidekick, like Jar-Jar Binks, but would instead talk very well and be wise, sophisticated, and helpful. The character was cut.
For Act 1, Spoony wasn't going to be in "cardboard freeze", but be contained in "Area 52" causing the USS Exit Strategy to go in a huge action rescue sequence. But that sounded way too out-of-scope for their budget.
The "break out of assimilation" scene originally had Mechakara ordering 7of9!Chick to shoot Critic but her refusing because she cared too much about him. This was changed for three reasons: 1) Doug felt like he had to hammer home how selfish Chick and Todd were for the people who still didn't get it. 2) Chick needed a Big Damn Heroes moment that wasn't so directly tied to a romantic interest. 3) Fridge Logic - in the state he was in, Critic probably would have accepted getting killed by her. Plus it's out of character for Mechakara to even realize the two have a thing.
The Writer (i.e Doug) was originally written as much more in control, but Doug wrote it to how he saw himself: just a dorky awkward guy who could be anyone and wasn't anything special.
Word of Gay: Rob's not a fan, but Doug's commentary confirms Zod and Turrell were together in all senses of the word.